New Zealand Labour Party

National’s panda politics cynical distraction

John Key’s latest pet project, which will see taxpayers’ money spent on bringing pandas to Wellington, is a cynical distraction from serious issues facing this country, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.

“Spending taxpayer dollars to bring two pandas to Wellington Zoo is a waste of money, especially at a time when we are facing serious economic headwinds, cutting scientists from AgResearch and our state houses are in serious disrepair.

“This latest diversion and potential for yet another cute photo op comes just as Mr Key’s other pet project – changing the flag – collapses into disarray.

“There is a reason that most zoos are reluctant to host pandas. They lose money in the long term. In Adelaide Zoo, visitors increased by 70 per cent in the first year but quickly declined, leaving the zoo millions in debt.

“As Minister for Tourism, John Key should base his spending decisions on benefits to the country, not just cute pictures for his Facebook page. Just like the flag referendum this is just pandering to the Prime Minister’s personal peccadillos,” Andrew Little says.